Ruffled Swing Dancers

I live with a ruffled swing dancer who celebrates my face just for being a face. On Monday, she asked me if I wanted to know what Jesus told her on her drive home. I said of course, because I always need more confirmation that Jesus is still a thing.

“Well let me tell you, Jesus is still a thing.”

I smiled with my face. The thought of Jesus still being a thing fills me with light.

But the light is fractured like a disco ball. Beautiful and mesmerizing, but dizzyingly broken. Because sitting next to the joy that is Jesus, there is a darkness of envy. An unraveling of emotion that while my roommate gets to dance in the knowledge that God is with her, my relationship with Jesus is always second-hand.

And isn’t that my life? Second-hand?

Growing up with social anxiety, I found solace in telling the stories of my fellow students with a camera and a pen. I would watch them through a lens, scribble notes on a pad while they lived. I was vicarious. The story wasn’t mine. It was theirs. And this story isn’t Saul’s. It’s David’s.


This summer we’re going to journey through the story of David. And I hope that, as Derrick said, you will see that David’s story is your story and that your story is chosen. But if you’re like me in this first week of readings, you  may resonate more with Saul’s story.

When the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed the Philistine, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. This was their song:
“Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!”

This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!” So from that time on, Saul kept a jealous eye on David.

1 Samuel 18:6

My deepest shame in this season of my life is that I am jealous of my friends. Instead of being grateful for my thousands, I am jealous and heartbroken over their ten thousands. And while some of us may feel hope in a story beginning, others may feel lost in a story ending.

And for us, it feels very much like a “tormenting spirit from God” (1 Samuel 18:10), a singular rejection, our very own personal disco ball.

For us, I have no answers, only prayers. I am not gifted with the clarity of God’s decisions. But I do love you. And I smile at you with my face as the lights from the disco ball distribute across yours. And I hope with my knowledge of your pain, I can comfort you in your torment. Maybe this is my story. Maybe it’s yours (2 Corinthians 1:4).

I pray for you a relationship with Jesus that isn’t second-hand, but personal, intimate, and yours.

For new eyes to see your thousands and gratitude to nurture them.

And for a ruffled swing dancer.

Who celebrates your face for being a face.

Gabriele Hickman
Assistant Director